Tuesday, August 25, 2009

So ... IS Beige the New Black?

I'm sorry I'm posting late (and re-posting a recent table). I apologize in advance for not being able to respond to comments and visit as many of you as I'd like. I've missed time at work this week, and I'll be playing catch up for the next couple of days.

I wanted to participate in "Let There Be White II," hosted by the gracious Kathleen @ Cuisine Kathleen. Be sure to visit her and all the talented participants!

My thoughts of blogging have been minimal during the past few days. I was awakened by an early morning phone call on Sunday. My father was displaying symptoms of a heart attack and was being rushed to the hospital. Thank goodness my brother and sister-in-law live nearby! I tossed a few things in a bag and made the 120 mile drive in record time. A stent was installed, and his respiration returned to normal. The pains he was experiencing in his chest, both arms, and his right leg disappeared completely.

There was concern for his kidney function, but it appears that early test results were a false alarm. Once he was no longer dehydrated, readings returned to normal. We're deeply thankful that his heart muscle seems to have sustained no permanent damage. His readings are those of a healthy, much-younger-than-he-is man. There's another blockage (70 percent) and other narrowings, but those should be easier to address, at a time when he's not in an emergency situation. His doctor told him solmenly on Sunday evening, "We saved your life this morning."

I've barely checked e-mail during the past few days, but I did contact Susan of Between Naps on the Porch. Thank you, Susan, for your friendship, support, and prayers on my father's behalf.

Now, dedicated tonight to my wonderful father, the white/beige tablescape:

I’ve wanted to set an all-white table for you for a while now. It’s difficult to go wrong with white; it’s clean, classic, and can be very elegant.

But … what’s the old joke? Something about the blank canvas being a polar bear in a snowstorm? I decided to fudge a little and incorporate off-whites, creams, and beiges. Even at that, it was … interesting … photographing a table with a limited, pale, neutral palette. Naturally, I also used crystal and silver on the table, but they too can be difficult subjects to photograph.

Everything on the table is vintage except: the tablecloth, the sugar bowl, and the pearl ornaments.

I hope you’ll enjoy the result:

You’ve seen the ironstone dishes before in my first (and thus far, only) Pink Saturday Post. You can see it HERE.
The dinner and bread plates were Goodwill finds. The pattern is "Snow White Regency" by Johnson Brothers. The backstamp indicates that they’re from the 1960’s. I purchased at least a dozen of each size for a total of just under $10 (they were on sale for half price). They were in very good vintage condition (slight crazing on a few pieces … which doesn’t bother me at all).

Looking across the dining room, into the sitting room. It seems to me that the white and ivory items on the table harmonize nicely with the pale yellow walls and off-white woodwork.

Looking down at the center of the table.
Swans seemed to be the right color and, for me, they evoke a tranquil image. Graceful creatures gliding across a crystalline lake…

The round serving bowl and the white pitcher on opposite ends of the table were both GW finds. The swan and the shell-shaped container are flower pots … the swan from GW, and the other, part of a set of three graduated sizes from a thrift store. They’d been used, so I gave them a bath before I served you “pearls” for dinner! The inexpensive pearlescent ornaments were on clearance after Christmas at Hobby Lobby.
The little ceramic cherubs scattered about came from my favorite junk store … and cost almost nothing. The silverplated napkin rings are monogrammed with an “S.” That’s a nice, curvy letter to have … even if it’s not my initial, right?

The crystal stemware is by Heisey, stem number 6003. They were made from around 1953-1957. I found the set on sale at an antique mall in Benton, Illinois. They were dusty, but in quite good condition. The mall owner said the dealer who had brought them in is an elderly man who enjoys buying from estates and selling the items (and not too concerned about making money, which is why they were priced very reasonably).
A closer view of the stem on the sherbet glass. The silverplated chargers were on sale at an antique mall. They can double as small serving trays. These paper doilies came with the glass plates ... probably had been sandwiched between them for decades ... the edges are turning brown and curling, but they were doing their job ... protecting the plates from scratches while in storage.

The flatware is “King Cedric” by Oneida, introduced in 1933. This set was an eBay purchase … well under $50. "King Cedric" was one of the few silverplated patterns duplicated in sterling. The plated version was so popular that Oneida began selling "Cedric" in sterling beginning in 1949. I noticed that one of the teaspoons on the table is marked “sterling” on the back … otherwise, it looks identical to the others.
Oneida also produced china and crystal in the “King Cedric” pattern. The designs featured urns, fruits and flowers. At one point, that was a popular trend for silver companies to coordinate everything for the bridal registries. It simplified making selections and boosted sales … not a bad idea, was it?

I like the way the underside of the plates is reflected by the chargers. The sugar bowl in the upper right is by Wedgwood. I bought it for 75% off at a local gift shop. I’ve used it as a container for small flower arrangements.

Those faceted stems really sparkle, don’t they? I hand washed all the crystal just for you before setting the table. Thirsty?
A close-up view of the pattern. I think the cutting is called Southwind. If not, it’s a very similar pattern.

You’ve seen the flowers before. These Oak Leaf Hydrangeas were used in my first “Christmas in July” post. It’s HERE.

They’ve dried nicely now. I plopped them down in a crystal candle holder (reg. $5.99, half price at Goodwill). It’s two pieces and wouldn’t hold water but, fortunately, no water’s required for this centerpiece! The candleholders are by Lenox (older ones, made in USA) from an estate sale … half price on the second day (of course!). The large white cream pitcher, bottom of photo, left of center was on sale for 49 cents at GW.
A swan's eye view .....

The silverplated “silent butler” for brushing away crumbs between courses is by Godinger. It cost just a few dollars at an estate sale. Godinger manufactures plated items that look old and expensive, for a fraction of the cost of genuine antiques. It appears tarnished in the photo, but it must be reflecting the colors of the hydrangeas and of the chandelier. I DID polish the silver for you!

How many swans do you see?

I was glad the skies brightened for a few minutes to provide some natural light to illuminate this un-colorful setting!
This shows the detailing of the vintage linen napkins.

The table runner and placemats match the napkins. I purchased the set at a recent estate sale. They were in perfect condition (possibly never used). I think I paid under $5.
You can see the details of the flatware pattern here. Art Nouveau design is characterized by organic, especially floral and other plant-inspired motifs, as well as highly-stylized, flowing curvilinear forms. “King Cedric” strikes me as an art nouveau design, with a deco twist. What do you think?

The sterling salt and pepper shaker set also came from an estate sale …. another Day 2 bargain!

The charger looks gold here, but it’s a trick played by the incandescent lights of the chandelier. I liked this photo because it shows the pattern of the Heisey salad plates.
I ended up using this setting for a small impromptu dinner party. I’d been in the mood for chicken and dressing (stuffing for you non-Southerners!), so that was what I served. I realize it’s not typical summertime fare but, if it sounds good, why wait ‘til the Holidays?

Dessert in the sherbet glasses was super simple … Heath Bar ice cream drizzled with coffee liqueur. Mmmmmmm……


  1. I am so glad to hear your father will be okay. I was wondering where you were. We are the sandwich generation for sure, caught between the kids and the parents we worry all the time.

    Whether beige or white pearls are the perfect accesory. I was thinking the chargers were gold until I got half way down and you said they were silver. Either way the table looks lovely.
    I love to entertain and such a pretty table is a good start to an impromptu dinner.

  2. Bill... I just love this color combination, and you do it in such an elegant way... you do your daddy proud...

    I hope he is feeling better... I know it must have been quite a scare for your family.

    I'm just back from my California vacation/wedding and wanted to stop by and say hello... sending prayers and warm thoughts.

    blessings. Dixie

  3. Hi Bill,

    I am so sorry to hear about your Father and what a worrying time for your family.
    So glad to hear that the Medical team were able to operate and do the procedure to save his life.
    Prayers are with your Father.
    Your impromptu dinner party would have been lovely. It looks magnificent.


  4. I was gone for all last week..fishing trip to the mountains. You MUST drop by and see those pretty trout I caught..Also, please come by to see my WHITES, too...they aren't even close to the loveliness of YOURS, however. Your table is just heavenly. So so beautiful.

    I had missed you on several blog parties and wondered if all was ok in your world. I am so thankful to hear that your father is ok. Those stints are the most wonderful things. Both my husband, Bill, and myself have a stent. Thankful that your daddy doesn't have heart damage of any kind. This, my friend, is also a red flag for you to have yourself checked out.
    blessings, bj

  5. Beautiful white. Gorgeous post.

  6. I'm glad your father is going to be all right.

    Your table is exquisite as usual. I am gathering for a tablescape but probably not this week - too much company at the cabin! By the way, the silver polish worked on the aluminum. Thanks.

  7. Bill, What a gorgeous table, I have never done White, but you have inspired me to try.

    I am so happy about your Dad's recovery, it can be very scary. I will pray that he continues to do well and that they will stent the other artery soon.

    Again thanks for sharing your "white", you have some beautiful pieces on the table.


  8. OH, Dear Bill ~ I'm so sorry to hear about your father but so thankful to know he's on the mend. He and your family will be in my prayers.
    Now, what beauty to my tiny eyes this morning as I gaze at your gorgeous table! You're amazing.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  9. that must have been a frightful morning, my friend...so glad to read that your father is ok. And that table is amazing.......what are having at that table?????? ;-)


  10. I'm so sorry to hear about your dad, but I'm glad he's okay now. That must have been very scary for you.

    I love seeing your elegant white and beige table again.

    Hugs and prayers!

  11. What a gorgeous table!!! Bravo.

    Glad your Father is ok.

  12. How nice to see this table again. I love every detail of it. YOu always set the most perfect table and always have such wonderful dishes and crystal. A real treat. I am so sorry to hear about your father. I know what a scare that must have been. What a blessing he is ok. I will remember him in prayer. Hugs, Marty

  13. So glad they got your Father to the hospital in time and that he is doing much better.

  14. I just love this color combination, and you do it in such an elegant way... you do your daddy proud...
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  15. Bill, this is beautiful! I love the crispness!

    I am so glad that your father is okay and is improving!! I will keep each of you in my prayers!

    Lou Cinda

  16. Still as beautiful, Bill. Love how everything sparkles!
    Thanks for coming to the party, and hope things improve there..Good thoughts coming your way!

  17. I am so sorry Bill, that your dad got ill, but very relieved and happy that he's going to be fine. Your tablescape is pretty amazing, so elegant. The swans are very graceful and I am really lusting over those crystal stemware. As usual, you put everything together so well....Christine

  18. Hi Bill, I new something was up when I did not see you around at all!! So glad your father is ok. My husband had a stent put in about 5years ago now and he is fine. I will keep you both in my prayers...Julie

  19. Hi Bill,
    I was wondering why you weren't posting.....aging parents are something I can totally relate to. Glad is is doing well..... I will say prayers for your father and your family right now.

    I scored some monogrammed silver forks....can't wait to polish them up!

  20. Hi Bill. I'm as soo glad that your father will be ok. I love your table setting. You are very talented. :)

  21. Sending good wishes to your father! Your table is beautiful ~ sounds wonderful finds :)


  22. White comes in all shades & that is a white table. ;o)

    Will keep your father in my prayers Bill!

  23. It's good to hear your father is better, Bill. J's heart disease was diagnosed in his 40's. It's inherited. He's had a stent for a few years and done wonderfully well; even through several surgeries not related to his heart. All the best to your father!

    The table is gorgeous.

  24. Hi Bill:

    I must say I was a bit concerned. I hadn't seen you on Kathleen's white party (I haven't gone back since the first day) and then I realized I couldn't find you on Susan's list. I thought something must be wrong, so I came looking.

    I'm so sorry about your Dad. Thankfully he seems to be pulling out of it. As parents get older, it's so scary. I'll keep you in my prayers.

    I had a little scare with my son this week (thankfully all is well) and yet I wound up tablescaping too! It is somehow cathartic.

    Looking forward to seeing you back on the scene.

    - The Tablescaper

  25. So sorry to hear of your Dad's trouble, I'm glad he seems to be out of the woods, and I hope all goes well with his future procedures too.
    'Sorry you had to go through this.
    I lost both my parents over the last few years, and the years before that were very sad losing them to various diseases.
    You are Blessed to have your Dad, and he's Blessed to have you. Enjoy each other.
    All the best,

  26. Bill, I hope that your Dad continues to do well. I know how frightening these things can be. Cardiac medicine has truly come so far in the past ten years, and the ability to act so quickly in the opening of these clogged arteries with stents has saved many lives. You have pulled together another beautiful tablescape, and it is a fitting and lovely tribute to your father.

  27. Your tabletop is divine. I love the way you've subtly mixed in varied textures in your monochromatic display. What a wonderful meal you must have had! Stan

  28. Hello Bill,
    I am pleased to hear that your father is doing well. It's always a scare when our parents or children become ill. After dealing with these similar difficulties a few years ago, I want to reassure you that the heart procedures are fairly routine today. My father first began having heart problems 17 years ago. He lived a long and healthy life after surgery. Dad passed a couple of years ago...at 90 yrs old. I have prayed for your father...and your family.

    BTW...your table is lovely, as always. I especially love the pearly white glass balls flowing out of the bowl. The movement is quite elegant.
    Jane (artfully graced)

  29. Bill I hope your father is doing well. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Family does come first. As always a very lovely tables:)

  30. Bill, I'm so thankful your Dad is doing much better. He is truly blessed to have such a caring, loving son. I'll continue to keep him in my prayers.

  31. Stunning.....

    Ps. I am using a new blog for tablescape and home stuff it is the spindlecottage.blogspot.com one

  32. ps..glad your Dad is ok. We had a similar thing happen a year ago with my hubby's dad--he had a severe stroke in the wee hours. Thankfully a neighbor was up and heard him calling!! She saved his life. God Bless

  33. I'm sorry to hear the news about your father, but thankful he is doing well. I'll be praying for you both! Take care of yourself too!

    We missed you on Tablescape Thursday! Now I'm doing the Rooster Party, whew! Takes forever to do those replies, etc.


  34. I just found out about your dad. I'm sorry that happened. Praise God he is OK now! I'll keep in my prayers :)

  35. So sorry about your Dad, I know that had to be a terrible scare for you. Hope he continues to do better! I love this Tablescape, How beautiful you have mixed the patterns and crystal. The swans,just look like they are floating in pearls! Love the vintage napkin in the swans. I remember, one white swan at my Grandmother's! Your is so lovely. The setting and the china are just simply elegant. So beautiful! I left a comment on your last post if you get a minute I love to hear from you. Your table is set for a Queen! Just lovely! I saw three swans, did I miss any?

  36. Bill, I am so glad I found this BEAUTIFUL table! Great idea to have the impromto dinner....why "waste" the tablesetting???? Your tables are ALWAYS beautiful and I truly appreciate all the INFO you give with your posts. I am learning alot (at this old age of mine:):):) Fondly, Pinky